PONTIANAK (Indonesia), June 14 (Bernama) -- The Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) expects the number of visitors from Pontianak to the state to reach 500,000 people by this year.
STB's marketing director, Benedict Jimbau, said the target was achievable based on statistics as at March, when a total of 119,442 visitors from the city had already visited Sarawak. "Last year, Sarawak had 464,661 visitors from the city, an increase compared with the 417,072 visitors recorded in 2012.
"Based on the improvement shown each year, the Board is confident the target of 500,000 visitors can be reached," he said at the 1Malaysia Megasale 2014 programme, here Saturday.
A total of 18 booths have been opened by the participants of the programme comprising hotel and resort operators, private medical centres, travel agencies, public and private institutes of higher education from around Kuching, MASwings airline, Tourism Malaysia and the Sarawak Tourism Board today at Ayani Megamall, the largest shopping centre in West Kalimantan.
Some programmes such as the Rainforest World Music Festival to be held on June 20-22, the Sarawak Regatta boat competition on Sept 14 to 16 will also be attracting visitors.
"Lodging facilities in the state capital, Kuching, has also been addressed for the convenience of visitors. Recently the Hotel Imperial, which has 325 rooms and is located near the Boulevard shopping centre, was inaugurated by the Chief Minister on June 9.
"What's more, it is located near the Kuching Sentral Bus Terminal and has daily bus trips to and from Pontianak. About 88 per cent of visitors from Pontianak enter Sarawak through the several Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complexes throughout the state, and the rest come via the Kuching International Airport," he said.
Meanwhile, Shopping Malaysia Secretariat head Ramzi Abu Yazid said 25.7 million tourists visited Malaysia last year and 74.3 per cent of the total were tourists from Asean countries.
"According to statistics, the number of tourists from Indonesia is 2.2 million or 9.9 per cent of the total number of tourists coming to Malaysia this year. This gives a clear picture of the market and the potential still to be tapped in the country," he said.